James Harden is the favorite to win the MVP of the NBA.

Source: File – James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets walks onto the court during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Toyota Center on January 26, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images) / Getty

The NBA regular season is quickly coming to a close, but the race for the MVP award is heating up. Houston’s James Harden, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook are fighting to be crowned the best player in the league.

The three young guns have been absolutely bonkers this season for their respective ball clubs. Their individual performances have their teams in the playoff race in a huge way.

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While the MVP award does not have a defined criteria, its previous winners do have a couple of things in common. They are the best players on the perspective teams. They are usually high-scoring, all-around players on winning teams. Check out the three top guns stack up in this three-headed race.

James Harden, Houston Rockets

Fear the beard. Harden is the unquestioned leader of the Houston Rockets. The 25-year-old shooting guard is averaging 27.7 points per game (PPG), 6.9 assists per game (APG) and 1.93 steals per game (SPG).

The 6’5″ Californian is in pole position to win the MVP award. He’s the top scorer in the NBA and fifth in steals. And hee’s done all of that despite missing a big piece of the team, literally and figuratively, for awhile, with Dwight Howard out due to injury.

The Rockets are second in the western conference and are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

The baby-faced killer. Steph Curry is a cold-blooded killer on the court. The fifth-year pro has Golden State at the top spot in the uber-competitive west. His 23.6 PPG and 7.7 APG are great statistical total, but aside from his 2.03 APG, they aren’t in the top 5.

His team’s position in the top spot help Curry’s chances.

Steph’s play of the season thus far is the crossover that dropped Chris Paul.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

The human pogo stick. Westbrook is one of the most athletic players to ever grace the game. He has blossomed into a juggernaut at point guard. The UCLA product had to put the Thunder on his back with Kevin Durant‘s absence due to injury. The Thunder guard got one of the biggest endorsements from one of his former college teammates in Kevin Love (but no love for his teammate LeBron).

Russ is currently in the top five in the NBA in scoring, assisting and steals. He is averaging 27.7 PPG (the same as Harden), 8.7 APG and 2.08 SPG.

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The only negative in his run for the MVP is OKC’s 8th place in the western conference. That makes him the biggest long-shot in the race.

This season has been an exciting one so far, and the few games left before the playoffs will be very important in determining the winner. We may get to see a “new” NBA champion, but we’re sure to see a new MVP in the NBA.

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